Friday, June 14, 2019

Cancelled Mega Man Star Force 4 Concept Art and Story Details


What you see up there is concept artwork from a title that, until today, you had no idea almost existed: Mega Man Star Force 4. It’s not fan-art. It’s not a fake. It’s the real deal.

This illustration (drawn by none other than Shinsuke Komaki) from the cancelled fourth entry in the Star Force saga was supplied to Rockman Corner by an extremely reliable source – our old friend “The Shadow” (click the link for a refresher). According to our source, Mega Man Star Force 4 entered production roughly 10-years-ago, sometime between 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, coupled with poor sales of Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star (>60,000 units) and lower-than-expected sales of Mega Man Star Force 3 one year prior (between 174,426 ~ 210,000 units in Japan), Capcom ultimately chose to close the book on Mega Man Star Force 4 halfway in development.

To the best of our source's recollection, Mega Man Star Force 4 aimed to be more tonally "mature" than previous entries to attract an older demographic. It would have starred a slightly older, more hardened Geo Stellar (redesigned with new clothes and a new Visualizer) and a brand-new character named Kazuma (pictured on the left). Kazuma was a genius hacker and a direct descendant of Lan Hikari's family. The general premise of the game involved Geo and Kazuma crossing paths and becoming outlaw hackers. The dynamic duo would eventually be sought by the Satella Police. Reward for their capture was a hefty 8,000,000 Zenny a piece.

"Hacking" was intended to be the theme or gimmick of Star Force 4, comparable to Star Force 3's "Noise". How hacking would have contributed to gameplay, among other things, is beyond our source's recollection. It was a long time ago.

And that, really, is all we have to share on this ill-fated project for today. It took me a little while to wrap my brain around it but there it is: Star Force 4 was almost, almost a thing. It wasn't just a concept; it was in active development.

From Mega Man Universe to Mega Man Legends 3, you can go about your day knowing that Star Force 4 now exists in that grand ether where all other cancelled Mega Man projects go. And hey, maybe one day Capcom will revisit it. The Mega Man franchise is in far better condition than it was back in the early 2010s. The "dark era" is over. You never know what the future may bring.

For now, though, let us dream and wonder about what nearly was. And, please, whip up some cool fan-art while you’re at it.

81 comments:

  1. DAMMIT THIS WOULDA BEEN AWESOME

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  2. TAKE MY HEART PLZ

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  3. I am so mad right now. Oh my GOD! THIS WOULD'VE BEEN AN AWESOME GAME! WHY?!

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  4. As a huge fan of the Star Force series, I'll be honest here and say that I am FAR more bitter about this being cancelled than I am with Legends 3.

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  5. i kinda understand why they canned the project if star force 3 and japan only Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star sold poorly. it's sad but i can't blame them for it unlike what they did with universe and legends 3 especially legends 3 and i'm still not over it.

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  6. Wow. That could've been great. But at least Star Force 3 managed to close the book on the main conflict in the series.

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  7. that would've been amazing! i wish they do re-visit Star Force 4

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  8. It's painful how much more interesting this sounds than the rest of Star Force.

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  9. Look at the good side: at least is a material from some fangame or a fanfiction (though, that might not be enough...)

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  10. Omfg i dont even know how to feel about this ... so many emotions ... Also i wonder if pat would have been in this game /shot

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  11. Welp. That concept art of the crew in Junior high suddenly makes a lot more sense. MAN this is upsetting.

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  12. Noooooo. This would've been a awesome game why Capcom? Why? Pls revisit this concept

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  13. Hey proto dude can you give us more info on starforce 4 , I am very curious on if geo realy went to a life of crime after every thing even puting down dangerous ideas from omega sis

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  14. i mean the costume change makes sence , i mean MAN that kid wears long sleave shirts in a BEACH

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  15. Who cares. Bring us Legends 3.

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    1. I care. BN and SF made me a Mega Man fan in the first place, so SF4's cancellation pains me.

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    2. Better equip ClwnBootsV3 after that hot take.

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  16. Concept art? May I ask what you're talking about so I can get some context here? Thanks.

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    1. The image in the article... is concept art.

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  17. And now I have an unyielding rage to want to go back and knock their skulls together for cancelling this....

    And yes, the Blue Bomber is in a better place now than he was when Keiji left...revive SF4 and put it on the Switch, please...

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    1. why stop at just the switch , how about ps4 xbox one and PC!

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  18. S...so legends 3 canceled
    No X9 in development
    X FPS cancelled
    And an X mobile game that seems like all the hope for a new console game after 11 is thrown out because it seems they only want to make a mobile megaman game not even a hint at something new other than that... I feel like this series might be gone 11 a swan song and not a sign that the dark age was gone

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    1. No no.

      All I can say is, these mobile games have been in development for about a year and a half, alongside MM11. MM11 was very successful and, right now, they're taking time to develop "what comes next". Everything is fine.

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    2. @ Gavin Dragon. if i recall correctly, the producer guy (sorry, i forgot his name), implied a couple of times that there was something new in preparation.

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    3. @Protodude :

      No nothing is fine : the fact that the next Rockman game is a mobile game is maybe the worst news since the Legends 3 cancellation. Sorry but you seem the only one excited about it.

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    4. The mobile game I'm aware of has been in development for 1.5 years in tandem with MM11. On a different note, Capcom are spending this year "preparing for what comes next" which is wholly separate: http://www.rockman-corner.com/2018/12/next-mega-man-game-enters-pre.html

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  19. I love it MegaMan star force, am fan of it too. I want to more play that megaman star force. I hope megaman star force is back.

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  20. kinda sad about it, but on the other hand, Star force 3 end on a more conclusive note, so i can live with it not getting a sequel, unlike a couple other series. So while i'm not happy to hear there was something that concelled, i am at the very least, glad that it hapened after a proper jumping out point.
    Also, i don't know how i would have reacted to Geo behing a outlaw. That teenage Geo is looking very neat, though. makes me want to see what the other characters would have been like in this game.

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    1. For what other characters would have been, there's that piece of artwork by Tokiko Nakashima where you can see the main characters as they would look in Junior-High (thinking back to it, maybe it had something to do with that game).
      Someone even did a cool fan-art about it a little while ago (Hi-Go, i think).
      Still wonder if Queen Tia and Jack would have been in this game, and what they would have look like.

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  21. I wonder if the duo would have been acting like phantom thieves.

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    1. Why do I always think of Magic Kaito and Kamikaze Kaitou Jeann when I hear that term ?

      "Break the glass with the touch screen" - wait.. that would be too unprofessional

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  22. If the expect OSS would generate more sales then they are really wrong. What were they thinking back then?

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  23. NOOOOOOOO!!! THIS STORY CONCEPT IS AWESOME WHY CAPCOM?!

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  24. NOOOOOOOOO!!!! THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME WHY CAPCOM?!

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  25. "Unfortunately, coupled with poor sales of Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star (>60,000 units)"

    I'm shocked that a game that was billed as a grand crossover between Battle Network and Starforce but ended up being Mega Man Battle Network 1.25 ended up doing poorly.

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  26. On the one hand, this project sounds like it would've been really cool; on the other, while I'm bummed that it got cancelled, I'm glad we're hearing about it now and not in the middle of Capcom's Bridge-Burning Bonanza...

    There was talk about at least one abandoned game being resurrected for the Switch, right? If it turns out to be MML3, and it does well, maybe we should ask Capcom to consider bringing this back, too.

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  27. i actually salute them for not anouncing it back then before being sure that it would be made. this way at least we did not get our hope up before being disapointed like what was the case for Legend.

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  28. There was little chances of success for Operate Shooting Star, they should have seen it coming.
    As for every other MM games in to come out after 2005, they just pulled them out and expected them to do well on their own without providing the necessary exposure. Sadly, few games will perform well without proper advertising. If only Megaman fan who closely Megaman actuality hear about something, of course it won't sell enough.
    (woaw, my comment end up sounding more bitter than i actually am)

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  29. *Legends 3. Online. Universe.*

    Vegeta: "So that's 3 canceled games, do I hear 4?"

    *Maverick Hunter*

    Vegeta: "DO I HEAR 5?!"

    *Starforce 4*

    Vegeta: What the F?!

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    1. maverick hunter did'nt so much got cancelled as not anounced to begin with. (of course there would have been a sequel if MHX1 did well, but still not really a cancellation if it is not anounced/prepared, then scrapped.)
      Still 5, since there was also a X FPS at some points.

      on a side note, iirc, one of universe or online (i don't remember which it was) was'nt realy capcom fault, but i might be wrong about that.

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    2. Online was scrapped because the korean company developing it went through a structural change, focusing on mobile games. They were simply using the IP as licensed from Capcom, but didn't finish it. Not a real loss to western players either way, as iirc the game was going to use a system that required a real-life korean ID to even register for it.

      Also, Maverick Hunter was the name of the MMX FPS. It was another game that was supposed to be developed by a western company, since Inafune was so gung-ho about the topic. Since it was such a drastic departure from usual Mega Man stuff, I don't really blame that the higher ups abandoned it. Seemed like it could have been an another case of Bomberman: Act Zero.

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    3. Vegeta: Wow, you are the grand central of dissapointment, aren't you?

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  30. It would of been nice to get this. Maybe one day.

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  31. Why did Geo go and become a hacker here? Unless there is unmentioned highly important character motive not being mentioned here it just sounds wrong.
    I'd have probably still gotten it/watched a playthrough of it,interesting is a thing it still would have very much been.

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    1. Well, obviousely there would have been a in-story reason for this.

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    2. maybe geo needed the hub program?

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    3. Maybe the world change with a sort of dictator ruled the world or country. And Geo and the Hikari guy in the art become a revolutionary against the dictator. I don't think a good guy like Geo become outlaw criminal without a reason.

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  32. Hope the shadow don't get in trouble for what he is doing. don't know if it is something he was meant to show.

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  33. "poor sales of Rockman EXE: Operate Shooting Star (>60,000 units) "

    This game is, to this day, my most disappointed game of all time
    The game was hinted at my top hype moment, Star Force 3 is gone and i'm super excited for another Star Force game. Some thought that the picture of EXE Rockman and Star Force Rockman holding hands was supposed to be a new game. I was excited. Then we got rumors that it was a remake of MMBN1. I was still excited. Then it was rumored it was going to be a port with extras. In a way, I was still excited. MMBN1 with balance changes? some new bosses? maybe even forms? new areas? I am fine with that!

    But at the end, those extras were barely noticeable. Clockman scenario was just a short and linear dungeon and a forgotable boss fight. Barely anything new...it was just a cheap cashgrab

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    1. Looks like number count even where they aren't supposed to. It's not like it was a collection like MMZero Collection, and the extras are little compared to MMBN5DS. They should have advertised the Star Coliseum mode more than the tiny Star Force extra scenario.

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  34. If they make a StarForce collection then I will make sure to buy a copy so they know I still love this series and hopefully they'll consider making this sequel.

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  35. What a shame, i would of loved to see an older Luna. :(

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  36. Pff, amem to that, the starforce series are a stain on this franchise, they should have made battle network 7 instead of starforce.

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    1. Ironically, a SF4 would have more reasons to happen than a BN7. But for now both seem very unlikely, which is a pretty big shame.

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  37. Hey Protodude, serious question. Who exactly released this concept art, and why now? Tinfoil hat on, but maybe revealing info about this at this time frame could be a device used to gauge interest?

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    1. Nah, nothing like that. We're coming up on ten years of various cancelled projects. So...

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  38. I wonder if Kazuma's father/grandfather was Patch, Lan and May's son who was mentiones on BN6's epilogue..hm... really hope we get an EXE or Star Force soft reboot one day

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  39. If development was half-way, was the BGM also in production? Was Yoshino Aoki or Akari Kaida involved in this game?

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  40. I don't know how i would have reacted to this plot. i kinda liked the lighter moments of the previous star force games, like the main characters going to the beach or the mall between two fights. Wonder how it would have been done with a Outlaw Geo/Subaru.
    of course, that also make me curious about this game.

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  41. Meh. It's not like it ended on a cliffhanger.
    I always thought SF3 was THE END what with the ending and all.

    I was getting extremely sick of these games by this point. Multiple versions, endless fetch quests... NO PLATFORMING...

    I also thought Star Force was a huge downgrade from Battle Network. Fewer chip options, less tiles and a terrible perspective in battle.

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    1. i personaly always enjoyed Star Force more than battle networks. though i always had issues with the "puzzle" part in both serie.
      I agree with you about the cliffhanger part, though. i would have liked a new game since i'm always happy to get new MM games, but i can live without it since the serie got a proper ending.

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    2. Agreed, Star Force really was a step down from BN. This concept looks interesting though.

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  42. well i AM disapointed to hear that since a cancelled megaman game always makes me sad, but on the other hands, this serie at least ended with a real ending. So of course, i'll be glad if they do it somewhere on the future, but if i had to chose between this one and Legend 3, i would chose Legend, since that one is a big case of left-hanging.
    Only my opinion, of course.

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    1. No it didn't, not in an immediate continuation of the plot sense, there was no urgency at the end of Legends 2, it is a myth concocted by Legends fans to have it seem needed to continue under the guise of needing more of a closure than it already had. It ended in a literal comedic note of Roll and Tron not being able to reconcile their egos while building a shuttle that Data was suppose to help design/construct. That's it no other urgency was directly or I'd argue indirectly laid out, if someone tells you otherwise they are embellishing, speculating based on general extrapolations of the overall plot or flat out lying. This does not mean I am saying the series isn't open-ended.

      ZXA on the otherhand had a legit case of sequel begging from authentic left-hangingness. I don't bring this up to compete just to illustrate the differences.

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  43. Well. There is YGO VRAINS going that route. Maybe Capcom now feels the need to jump on the bandwagon.

    Unlikely.. And as already stated, Ryuusei fans can be happy things got wrapped up as is..

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  44. I like Kazuma's design.
    maybe it's just me, but... it seems... Bass-like, doesn't it? the shoulder pads specifically.

    Shame, It wouldve been neat to see how it tried to be more mature. The first game was fairly mature tonally, dealing with loss and being an outcast and all.

    Star Force 2 sucked, but 3 was pretty nice. and at the very least, they wrapped up the story with the dad so you can say it actually closed out the story.

    Shame. But still neat to see. The idea of a direct descendant to Lan is pretty neat

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  45. Aged up, eh? Would be interesting to see updated designs for Luna, Zack, Bud, and Sonia then.

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  46. Star Force 4 is my most wanted MM sequel next to Legends 3. And until this article was posted, I felt silly and greedy for such desire because Star Force 3 wrapped the story nicely. I'm glad to see that I wasn't asking for too much.

    I would think that the hacking element would be incorporated into gameplay by changing and customizing the area layout of the stage, though that is just a guess. Just thinking of what a SF4 can do, the potential, gets me hyped!

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  47. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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  48. Hmm, I always felt that star force was battle network with different characters and kept missing the ones I liked plus mechanics they took away. The new characters never grew on me for this iteration.

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  49. But this you've discovered in my birthday?

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  50. This is almost enough to make me shed a few years of what could have been

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  51. do we need to wait until 40th anniversary

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